Robert Wu Bookbinding and Book Arts

Robert Wu is a designer bookbinder and paper marbler in Toronto. He is a book artist who creates beautiful hand bound books, exquisite marbling art, teddy bears, marbled paper & letterpress stationery. Each item is handmade by Robert one at a time in his studio with fine traditional craftsmanship. Robert received his training in bookbinding with Tini Miura at Studio Tini and also studied at the American Academy of Bookbinding in USA with Monique Lallier  and Canadian Bookbinder’s Guild. His books are handmade using traditional bookbinding techniques and the finest materials available.

Robert’s most recent achievement is a commission by the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, for a binding of George Barbier and Francois Louis Schmied’s Personnages de Comedie (Paris, 1922).

One of Robert’s specialties is miniatures. He loves small things made of paper and to appreciate that aspect of his artistry it helps to know how he became interested in bookbinding in the first place. This is how Robert describes his introduction to bookbinding:

“I discovered bookbinding initially through ORIGAMI! I have always been interested in paper folding and one day (back in high school), I discovered at a bookstore a diagram of folding a sheet of paper into a multi-page miniature book. I was intrigued and it fascinated me. Then I realized that I couldn’t write much in it, so I went back to the bookstore and found a manual on bookbinding basics. At that time, the basic bookbinding manual looked very complicated to me, but I decided to give it a try. So I started making my first properly bound books in miniature format when I was in high school, and I was hooked. I think within a few years of making my miniature books, I discovered the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG) in Toronto. I started taking workshops in bookbinding because I wanted to make better miniature books…….

….one of my instructors introduced me to a book called My World of Bibliophile Binding written by Tini Miura. I think it was through Tini’s works and writing in the book that I was first introduced to the concept of design binding: bookbinding as art. Then, I discovered another book called Art Nouveau and Art Deco Bookbinding by Alastair Duncan. It was this book that sealed my fate as a designer bookbinder, and I decided to get advanced training in bookbinding so I could do exactly what I saw in the books.”

Robert has also been paper marbling since 2000. His unique take on the traditional marbling technique is called “Marbled Graphics”™ where he combines traditional marbling techniques with his own graphic compositions/designs. His composition is influenced by the Japanese prints. Water based colours are used on gelatin ground. Robert’s marbling work is characterized by their beautiful velvety colours and fine details. 

You can learn more about Robert and his art by visiting his website.

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